WASHINGTON – Six world powers and Iran agreed to hold talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program this month in Kazakhstan in the latest attempt to avoid a military confrontation over the issue.
After three months of negotiations, Iran’s national security council reached agreement with the office of the European Union’s foreign policy chief and point person for the six powers involved, Catherine Ashton, for a meeting Feb. 26.
The six countries – Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and the United States – have been urging Iran to accept limits on a nuclear program that many countries fear is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists that its program is intended only for peaceful purposes, but the regime is eager to win relief from sanctions that are crushing its economy.
A senior U.S. official said the agreement was “positive” but added that “we’ll be looking to see if they are prepared to engage seriously.”